Hundreds of Quebecers of all stripes gathered at the Place des Quartiers in downtown Montreal Sunday afternoon to protest Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline in western Canada.
The new pipeline, if built, would parallel an existing 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline route, which carries some 300,000 barrels of oil on a daily basis from the Alberta oilsands to the Vancouver area.
The Montreal protest comes less than a week before Kinder Morgan’s May 31 deadline to abandon the expansion project that would see pipeline capacity increase to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.
Organizers of the rally say they stand in solidarity with the B.C. government as well as First Nations peoples who oppose the Alberta-led project.
Assembly of First Nations regional Chief Ghislain Picard told the crowds that the debate over the pipeline cannot be restricted to B.C. and Alberta because climate change knows no borders.
“We respect the rights of our brothers and sisters in British Columbia to have their own debates,” Picard said. “But we also say climate is indivisible, and we’ll have our word to say on any project that tries to diminish that reality.”
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau endorses the project, opponents argue it is environmentally unsound.
“Just by itself, this project would have the same climate change impacts as the addition of 2.7 million vehicles per year,” a statement by organizers reads.
Union leaders were among those lending their voices to the protest Sunday and are calling on the Trudeau government to promote the transition towards green energy sources, rather than waste public money on projects that encroach on a province’s right to decide what is best for its population.
That sentiment was echoed by Mohawk Chief Serge Simon.
“We have to band together, and we have to force the governments to become a little bolder when it comes to investing in the future,” he said.
“Oil isn’t the future, it’s the past.”
— With files from The Canadian Press’ Morgan Lowrie